The first time I almost outsprinted Katheryn Curi was in a photo studio in Oakland. My friend Mark Estes was trying some “art photography” to bolster his portfolio. Another amateur racer and I were set up on trainers to make it look like we were chasing Katheryn down as she crossed the finish line, hands reaching for the ceiling.
At the end of the shoot, I asked Mark if I could switch trainers with Katheryn, just once, pretty, pretty please. By the expression on his face I could see that my words were only serving as a mild irritant.
This was through a special Ladies’ Night at the EPTC, thanks to owner Charlie Livermore and retired pro-racer and renowned coach Laura Charameda.
The evening commenced with about an hour long question and answer period with Laura and Katheryn. Katheryn was just as nice as I remembered from our photo shoot last year. And I’d always known about Laura Charameda and her tireless work in coaching other local athletes as well as Team Swift, but this was my first time ever getting to meet her in person. As a former age group and collegiate swimmer, I’ve had a few coaches in my life. The good ones are the ones who can take their own ego out of the equation and connect to their athletes individually. And I saw her do that with every person in the room, from beginning road racer to national champion. Her warmth and positive attitude is infectious.
Then were were ushered off to the eCycling class with Laura. I believe that this was probably the real reason why all of us showed up. What could it possibly be like?
eCycling is something like a spin class, but you use your own bike on an EPTC provided CompuTrainer. At EPTC, an eight week class cycle consists of two classes a week, ninety minutes in length, with the focus on training at intensities specific to your current state of fitness.
It only took about ten minutes warm up for me to understand just why this place is so popular. There’s a definite vibe at EPTC. It’s not just a gym; it’s a hang out. There I was, spinning easy on my trainer, and who should walk in but our own Paige Youngman (by the way, I first wrote this for my team’s blog). Everyone greeted him like they’d known him for years. Other athletes outside of the class were either working out on the state-of-the-art weight training equipment or just lounging around in lycra sipping energy drinks and munching on Clif Bars. It’s like a health spa for cyclists.
Ten minutes into it the intensity increased. The music got louder. Laura wanted us to boost our watts to 100. Oh, this is so easy, I thought. I was barely working up a sweat. I could breathe with my mouth closed. I’m so fit.
Laura came by to see what was wrong with my set up.
“You’re supposed to be riding at thirty miles an hour,” she said, tapping the computer.
Oh. The only way I could hold that speed was to spin my legs like mad. I thought my legs would fall off. I looked over at my competition, Katheryn Curi, and her legs were a blur. I told myself to keep trying.
After our second ten minute interval, Laura announced we’d so some twenty-second “pulls”, one person at a time. Oh dear. Could I take the pressure of everyone watching me? I had terrible flashbacks to the fifth grade talent show, when I really wanted to dance to Elton John, but no, Becky Vassis really liked Tony Orlando and Dawn. All my anxiety in life stems from that talent show.
My friend Trish Gellman to my right was up next.
“Five seconds!” yelled Laura, also spinning madly on her own bike. “Ready, go!”
I watched Trish’s face turn beat red as her legs spun furiously to the beat of the rock music blasting from the speakers. You could see the veins sticking out of her neck. We all cheered her on until her twenty seconds was up.
Then it was my turn. Gulp.
“Five seconds, Katie. Ready, go!”
Almost magically, my mind bounced away from dancing to “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ol’ Oak Tree” back to the task at hand.
What happened next could have happened in a movie. Picture this happening in slow motion. There we were, our five-woman break, entering the final turn of the Giro di San Francisco. I’m in the third spot, we have 200 yards to go, the crowd is going wild, I’m pedaling as hard as I can and I feel myself pulling away. I’m going for the win!
Except, how did she get around me. In the outside of the turn, at that. Curses, that Katheryn Curi outgunned me yet again. I just can’t stand that.
“Time’s up!” yelled Laura. I collapsed onto my bicyle, not satisfied with my second place.
“You got up to 44 miles an hour,” Trish said in an encouraging town.
She had no idea what was at stake!
Of course, no one needs to know that I was going for gold in the eCycling class. I have a feeling that’s not what it’s really about, and that if word got out that I was trying to win an eCycling class, people might think that I am an absolute dork.
Still, I’m going to have to come to this eCycling class again.
There’s just one set back. At $595 for a twice a week, eight-week package, this is out of my budget unless I’m willing to make a few key sacrices, like basic food and shelter.
What came next was my regular Katie-dialogue that Miguel has told me so many times should just stay internalized, but I always forget to do that and I end up engaging in a conversation where it looks like I’m talking to myself.
“I could live in a van. Nicole Freedman lived in a van.”
“You can’t live in a van.”
“I could live in a van. Think of all the money I’d save in rent. I could train like a pro.”
“You’re barely a Cat 3. And you work from home. How are you going to work in a van.”
“I can’t live in a van.”
And so, for now, it’s basic riding on the road for me. Thanks to Charlie Livermore and Laura Charameda for my free experience with greatness.